“Our thoughts and prayers are now with the people of Haiti,” said Archbishop Demetrios who immediately issued an encyclical calling upon the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to pray for the safety, health and well being of all the people of Haiti and in particular the Greek Orthodox faithful there.
In his encyclical to the parishes of the Archdiocese, (see below) the Archbishop also calls for all parishes “to conduct a special collection on Sunday, January 17 as a response of compassion to the needs of the people of Haiti.”
There are two Greek Orthodox parishes in Haiti under the Metropolis of Mexico. The first is the parish of St. John the Baptist in Pétionville, a district in the capital of Port-au-Prince. The second is the newly established parish of St. Mathias. Due to the severed communications, the Metropolis of Mexico has not been able to establish contact with the parishes until now.
January 13, 2010
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It was with great sadness and compassion that we received the tragic news of the devastating earthquake that struck yesterday the country of Haiti, causing widespread destruction and loss of countless lives. Thousands are presumed dead, many more have lost family members, homes, and jobs, and the infrastructure and institutions of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, are in ruins.
In response to this tragedy, I ask first and foremost of the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Church in America to offer their fervent prayers for the people of Haiti. May we help them through our prayers to find heavenly solace in this hour of grief and pain, and may they find strength and hope in Him through faith and through the ministry of love and healing offered from around the world. In addition, may we also offer our prayers for the Greek Orthodox faithful and the two parishes of Haiti who are under the archpastoral leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico. We pray for their safety and well-being, and for their witness and service during this difficult time.
I also ask that the parishes of our Holy Archdiocese conduct a special collection on Sunday, January 17 as a response of compassion to the needs of the people of Haiti. This country and its people have experienced numerous tragedies and struggles, and this natural disaster has deepened the challenges with the destruction of hospitals, schools, churches, and relief centers. It is requested that the offerings be sent to the Archdiocese made out to the “Greek Orthodox Archdiocese” earmarked for the Haiti Relief Fund.
Through prayers, gifts, and service may we respond to this tremendous crisis, knowing that our Lord will be faithful to bring comfort and healing through our witness of His love. With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America